We have been treating patients with advanced HIV disease using passive immunotherapy (PIT). Earlier studies of PIT which have been published concerned relatively short periods of treatment: our study is by far the longest and reports also on the long-term effects of plasmapheresis on healthy HIV-infected individuals. Fifty-nine patients with an average CD4+ T- cell count of 55 per cu.mm. at baseline were transfused at monthly intervals with 500 ml of hyperimmune plasma. No disease progression or death occurred among the 8 asymptomatic patients under the treatment, which lasted for 36.25 months on average. Seven of the 15 ARC patients progressed to AIDS but none died in an average period of 25.9 months. Seven of the 36 symptomatic AIDS patients with advanced disease died in an average period of 19.6 months. PIT appears to be nontoxic and to have beneficial effects lasting at least four years under continuous treatment. It probably delays disease progression in ARC and AIDS patients, and almost certainly does so in asymptomatic late HIV infection with a very low CD4+ T-cell count. None of the 51 donors suffered adverse effects, nor did any progress to ARC or AIDS in an average period of 30.1 months. Their laboratory parameters indicated a nearly stable condition: in particular, their average CD4+ T-cell count rose from 478 to 498. The study of our plasma donors indicated that repeated and frequent plasma donation by asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals could delay disease progression, although further studies are needed to investigate this.
- Passive immunotherapy in HIV disease and therapeutic plasmapheresis